The Berliner Grundtheater e.V. (BGT) was founded in Berlin in 1991 and is dedicated to producing a wide range of English-language plays, while integrating players of different nationalities. In addition to playing many seasons in Berlin, the company has also performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and at Anglo-German Festivals in Germany, and is now based permanently in Luxembourg.
The BGT repertoire includes shows by authors as varied as Peter Shaffer, Anthony Minghella, Oscar Wilde and William Shakespeare. The company also produces original scripts, such as adaptations of JANE EYRE (2010), LITTLE WOMEN (2014) and A CHRISTMAS CAROL 016) and in January 2020 it premiered June Lowery's CHARLES DICKENS, THE BEST OF MEN; THE WORST OF MEN. The company is especially committed to promoting theatre for female actors and writers who are under-represented in the theatre and performance world. Shows like WOLVES ARE COMING FOR YOU (2019), PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (2018) and DAVID'S REDHAIRED DEATH (2020) all featured women-only casts as part of the company's policy to put women centre stage.
WE HAPPY FEW by Imogen Stubbs, follows in this theme. A light-hearted play for mainly women actors, it follows the adventures of the "Artemis Players", an all-woman theatre company which toured Britain during the second-world war, bringing Shakespeare and other classic writers to the furthest parts of the clountry. The production will run from 1st-4th December 2021 at Neimënster, Centre Culturel Abbaye de Neumünster, Luxembourg.
Com,bined with its policy of promoting plays by and about women, in recent years the company has also focused on promoting young performers and traineee or aspiring actors who are hoping to work in theatre. It is a co-sponsor of FEST (The FESTIVAL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE SCHOOL THEATRE) which takes place every second year in Luxembourg (https://www.fest.lu/) and in 2019 started a summer programme giving trainee actors a contract to work on a show. THE ROAD TO HUNTSVILLE, performed in June 7th-9th 2021 at Neimënster was the third show in this programme.
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Written in 2004 by the actress Imogen Stubbs, this heart-warming play tells the story of the “Artemis Players”, an all-woman theatre company which challenged the male-dominated world of the 1940s to bring theatre to the furthest-flung parts of Britain. Led by the undaunted Hetty Oaks, this unlikely woman-only company - comprising amateur enthusiasts, a former star of the stage, a recent graduate of Central Drama school, an American maid and a tomboy more at home mending cars! - toured the length and breadth of ther the country performing the works of Shakespeare and other classics of the English stage. Swinging from hilarious chaos to heartbreaking sadness, the play traces their story through its ups and downs, its successes and failures, its laughs and its tears. Based on the real, but now largely-forgotten, "Osiris Players" the play is a celebration of both the indefatiguable energy of these single-minded women and of the joys, frustrations and general madness of a life in theatre.
June Lowery, Lindsay Wegleitner, Helena O'Hare, RachelKathryn Lloyd,
Jessica Whiteley, Kim Birel, Gina Millington,
Bjørn Clasen, Alessandro Stasi, Elke Murdock, Catriona Gillham,
Eloïse Heger-Hedløy and Josie Shillito
Musical Director: Catriona Gillham Director: Tony Kingston
THE ROAD TO HUNTSVILLE
Originally performed by the author, STEPH is a writer who researches women that fall in love with – and often marry – murderers on death row. She wants to understand why. What makes seemingly steady and sensible people do this? As she says: “These women are writers, journalists, lawyers, teachers, nurses, civil servants, mothers, wives.” But as she digs deeper into the subject, she finds herself more and more pulled in and begins corresponding directly with Jonny Demouchette, who is faces the death sentence in Texas for the murder of a shop-assistant. How far will she go to get the story she wants? And how in control of herself and her motives is she?
Using multi-media projections and video clips, this one-woman show looks at what makes some women so attracted to men of violence, even to killers. Through a mixture of factual presentation and the personal story a woman succumbing to the same attraction, it raises questions without making any judgements or imposing stereotypes. A moving, sometimes funny, but deeply thought-provoking play, it also provides an unusually powerful role for a young actress.
This is the third production in the BGT's programme to promote young performers and to put women more at the forefront of theatre.
Directed by Tony & Ferelith Kingston
Performed by Lina Peller
Designer: Laura Burman Lights: Catriona Gillham Back Projection: Marc Kaysen
REVIEWS in the PRESS
CAST & CREW
LINA PELLER as "STEPH"
Lina Peller is a Luxembourgish student who is currently studying drama at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. Her interest in theatre found its beginning during her first drama lessons, led by Tony Kingston. Soon after, she applied for the Conservatoire de Luxembourg, where she took part in acting, improvisation and diction classes.
Notable spoken theatre and film performances include: WITCH HUNT by Stuart Arden and SELFIE by Bradley Hayward, directed by Tony Kingston; LADY WINDERMERE'S PHONE at the Theatre National du Luxembourg; DIE PLANETEN at the Philharmonie Luxembourg; and a film role in LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS (Dividante Films).
Alongside her acting experience, Lina was able to gain operating and design experience during her internship in the Münchner Kammerspiele, where she assisted in the costume design for both TIEFER SCHWEB by Christoph Marthaler and MITTELREICH by Anta Helena Recke. In 2019 she designed the first BGT summer project, WOLVES ARE COMING FOR YOU which was her first commission as the sole costume designer for a show.
In September 2020 she co-starred in the BGT’s production of DAVID'S REDHAIRED DEATH by Sherry Kramer. She was also scheduled to play in this year’s CORONAVIRUS CHRONICLES until postponements of the show meant she had to drop out because of a clash of schedules. She is planning to start her Master at drama school in the UK in autumn 2021.
FERELITH KINGSTON - Assistant Director
Ferelith studied at the European School, Luxembourg and graduated from the University of Portsmouth in 2020, after completing a BA (hons) in Musical Theatre. She has worked as both director and Assistant Director on a variety of projects such as the musical “All Shook Up”, the operetta “Orpheus In The Underworld”, and the recent BGT production of “The Coronavirus Chronicles”. As the co-founder of Swell Theatre Company she is hoping to bring the original musical “Double Date! The Musical”, which she co-wrote, to the 2021 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She wrote and directed the short online play “Rehearsal Etiquette” for the virtual version of the Edinburgh Festival last summer and this piece was revived for “The Corona Virus Chronicles” in February this year. She plans to continue pursuing directing and is hoping to start her Master in theatre directing in Ireland this autumn.
LAURA BURMAN - Designer
Laura studied at the International School of Luxembourg and is planning to start a BA (hons) in Theatre Design in the UK next year. Her interest in theatre began with acting, in plays such as "ALMOST MAINE" (which appeared at FEST in 2020), but quickly evolved into a specific interest in Theatre Design. She has worked as a Costume/Stage Designer in a variety of school productions, such as "TRIFLES", "WEST SIDE STORY", "LES MISERABLES", "ALMOST MAINE" and "TWELFTH NIGHT".
"THE ROAD TO HUNTSVILLE" marks her first commission as a sole designer. She has previously worked with BGT on "WOLVES ARE COMING FOR YOU" in 2018 and "DAVID’S REDHAIRED DEATH" in 2020. In the next years she hopes to pursue her passion for design as a career.
CATRIONA GILLHAM - Lighting Design
Catriona first got a taste for the world of theatre not long after her arrival in Luxembourg, in 2015, when she played a desperate cockney strawberry seller in 'Oliver!', with Pirates Productions. There was no getting rid of her after that: she has been elbowing her way into pretty much everything she can since then, whether onstage or backstage in the lighting booth, with the BGT, Pirates Productions, or NWTC. Her first show with the BGT was June Lowery's adaptation of 'A Christmas Carol' in December 2016, in which she played Scrooge's nephew's wife. She relishes the chance to surround herself with more creative people. Her favourite aspect of designing lighting is reading through the script to analyse the deeper subtleties of a given play's mood, setting and dynamics, and pick out ideal places for random strobe lighting. She also enjoys having the privilege to watch a given production six times in a row from the very back of the hall.
MARC KAYSEN - Lighting and Back Projection
An engineer by education, Marc has been working at the junction between technology and the creative arts ever since he moved to New York in 2015 to carry out filming, video editing and website design for various dynamic, young entrepreneurs. Having established a client base there, he then capitalised on the nomadic (online) possibilities provided by that work by travelling through Europe and Asia, before coming back to settle in his native Luxembourg. Since coming back home, he has been involved in the local arts scene by volunteering as a lighting/sound technician for shows by the BGT and Pirates Productions, by translating subtitles for short Luxembourgish films into English, and through involvement in the creative committee for Rollingergrund's wind orchestra.